Network Rail has released their interim report into the Stonehaven rail crash and sets out immediate and long term action that must be completed to improve the railway against extreme weather.
The report does not pre-empt the formal investigation by the RAIB, but the initial reports suggest that the train struck a pile of rock and gravel before derailing.
Network Rail’s interim report assesses the current management of earthworks and sets out how to reduce the risk of landslips in the future.
Key findings also look at the reporting and responding of rainfall, and how they can be improved and strengthened and will help signallers to better manage trains in bad weather.
100s of sites across the UK have been inspected in the last three weeks to identify any issues requiring emergency intervention.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: The incident at Stonehaven was a tragedy, and my heart goes out to the friends and family of driver Brett McCullough, conductor Donald Dinnie, and Christopher Stuchbury.
We owe it to those who lost their lives, were injured, and were affected by this incident to learn and act on every possible lesson to ensure this is never repeated. The independent investigation will enable us to understand exactly what went wrong and make sure it does not happen again.
We cannot delay learning the lessons. That is why I immediately commissioned this report and am making the interim findings available. I welcome the work setting out the challenges in adapting our rail infrastructure to cope with increasing extreme weather events caused by climate change. The task is now to overcome those challenges.
We will use the findings of this interim report to improve, shape and accelerate our work to build a more robust and resilient rail network so that our railway continues to be one of the safest in the world.
Grant Shapps is writing to Iain Thomas, Chief Constable of Police Scotland, to recommend that PC Liam Mercer is commended for his bravery.
Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines said: My thoughts remain with the families and friends of the 3 people who lost their lives, those who were injured and everybody affected by the tragedy at Stonehaven last month. We owe it to them, and all our passengers, to make sure we understand what happened and what more we should be doing to reduce the risk of it ever happening again.
We are all aware that we are increasingly seeing more incidents of severe weather and, as the report published today shows, earthworks and drainage infrastructure – some of which are more than 150 years old – prove to be a real challenge as the country experiences more heavy rainfall and flooding.
Our railway is one of the safest in Europe and tragic accidents are incredibly rare, but something went wrong on 12 August near Stonehaven, and it is a stark reminder that we must never take safety for granted. We are improving and accelerating our resilience work and will do everything we can to minimise the impact of weather on the safety and reliability of the railway as our climate continues to change.
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